Jerry Morgan’s Sumatra photos
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spanish cursing lesson (adults only) – will download, or loudly play a rude language mp3 audio file right where you sit. You’ve been warned.
SF to San Diego trip 2005:
First disaster averted:
Dear Latitude magazine:
I’d like to submit the accompanying photo for the “Gonzo Repair Of The Month” award.
First, a little background. Jerry Morgan MD (urologist; aka “The Dick Doc”), a long time sailor, finally officially retired to his boat Sumatra on October 1. Sumatra is a 53-foot, 30-ton Trintella. On Tuesday October 25th, he sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and turned left, heading for San Diego to join the “Baja Ha-Ha Cruise” as the first step of an open-ended, multi-year retirement cruise. He had three crew out of a scheduled five; his friends Harold Robinson and Keith Borglum, and his cousin Libby from NYC.
Things started out well, but…
It was a cold and foggy night (heh heh). I was just finishing watch around 3:00 AM in pea-soup fog around 40 miles offshore somewhere south of Big Sur, with Libby awake and getting ready to take watch, when Jerry came boiling up to the cockpit. He whispered “Don’t panic the others but we’ve got a hole in the boat and I need help. Now! Let’s go!” (A suggestion to other skippers when needing help: don’t start conversations with “don’t panic the others but…”!).
An inch-and-a-half through-hull in the head under the sink had not only failed but snapped clean-off around 3 feet below the water line, and was shooting water across the head like a fire hose. To make things worse, the water was electrivied via a short circuit, so we got shocked touching the water. After an amateur rendition of “the Keystone Cops play Hans Brinker in a phone booth” we managed to hammer a bung in it without being electrocuted or having heart attacks, but in doing so jostled the neighboring through-hull which began to leak slightly. While contemplating a repair to it; it blew off -just like its neighbor-, hosing us again, so we repeated our efforts and sealed the second leak too.
So, now we had the leaks stopped, but didn’t trust the bungs to stay in the holes merely with friction. We started looking for options to secure the bungs further. I was looking for for some screws and wire when I noticed an empty caulking gun. Coincidentally, at a birthday party for a friend earlier in the week, I had seen a woodworking tool like a reverse-clamp that could be used as a spreader to exert pressure outward, which gave me an idea. We laid a wood-rasp from the tool box across the two bungs in the hull, and inserted a third thin bung into the end of the caulking gun and mounted it on top of the middle of the file, upside-down and backwards. We then triggered the caulking gun until the handle met the frame of the sink cabinet and put sufficient pressure on the bungs via the third bung and wood-rasp to be secure. A little duct-tape was added for stability, plus; what’s a Gonzo Repair without at least a little duct-tape? It held just fine until we completed our emergency diversion to a Long Beach shipyard for repairs, and it gave the yard-technicians quite a laugh!
Later at dry dock we determined that a repair earlier this year resulted in a hot wire -apparently wrongly identified as a ground wire- being attached to both, resulting in hyper-accelerated corrosion causing both to fail simultaneously. The yard technician’s comment was that the two brass through-hulls “looked like they had been boiled in acid”.
The Rescue 2009
Welcome Home Party after the rescue